Kabir Cares

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SHA Upcoming Project Activity Notice

Upcoming Project Activity Notice from the State Highway Administration: final road resurfacing (milling and paving) on US 1 (Baltimore Ave) between Campus Dr and MD 193 (University Blvd) will begin the week of April 29th. Weather permitting, this work will be complete by early June.

Expect single lane closures in both directions, weeknights, from 7 p.m. to approximately 6 a.m. the following morning. This work is part of the US 1 College Park Improvement Project.

NOTE: work hours will be adjusted the week of May 20 for Commencement ceremonies at the University of Maryland.

For more information about this project, please contact Mr. Mario Minoglio, MDOT SHA Project Engineer, at 443-996-4033.

City Celebrates Legislative Wins in 2024 General Assembly Session

The College Park Mayor and Council were briefed by lobbyist Len Lucchi on the 2024 Maryland General Assembly legislative session. Mr. Lucchi, a partner with O’Malley, Miles, Nylen & Gilmore, P.A., has been a lobbyist for the City since 2015.

Mr. Lucchi highlighted several bills supported by the 21st District Delegation (Senator Jim Rosapepe, and Delegates Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Ben Barnes, and Mary Lehman) and the City of College Park that passed during the session. “Your legislative delegation has important leadership positions that make it much easier for me to represent your interests” said Mr. Lucchi.

The City Council supported legislation sponsored by Delegates Lehman and Peña-Melnyk that increased penalties for street racing and exhibition driving, and it passed in both chambers. The City Council also supported legislation that authorizes stop sign monitoring systems in school zones. Violators will receive a civil citation. The legislation passed as a two-year pilot program.

Senator Rosapepe and Delegate Peña-Melnyk were instrumental in negotiating with the Governor’s Office and leadership in both chambers to amend and pass the Housing Expansion and Affordability Act of 2024. This legislation creates bonus densities for qualified projects near transit, but exempts property zoned for single-family homes and transit located on a university campus, which will protect the Lakeland community and other neighborhoods near transit stations. College Park Mayor Fazlul Kabir said, “we are really pleased with our delegation’s advocacy in Annapolis, and we appreciate Mr. Lucchi and City staff keeping the Council apprised of important bills and projects to support.”

Delegate Ben Barnes helped secure funding in the State Capital budget for several projects that will benefit the City of College Park. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will receive $2 million for the design and construction of trail improvements at the Paint Branch Parkway Park. The University of Maryland, College Park will receive $5 million for graduate student housing and additional funding for the Campus Farm, soccer and track stadium, and other campuswide infrastructure improvements. The College Park City-University Partnership will receive $2 million for site improvements, including stormwater and floodplain mitigation, for properties near the College Park Airport. In addition, $10 million was allocated for flood control in the Calvert Hills neighborhood.

The Mayor and Council thank our strategic partners for their efforts to secure important legislation and funding that will benefit our residents.

[City of College Park]

Annual Arbor Day Celebration – Tomorrow

The City’s Annual Arbor Day Celebration is this Friday at 6pm at the Calvert Hills Playground. Come join us as we read stories and plant a London Plane tree.

NCPCA BBQ – This Saturday

Please join your College Park neighbors for a cookout at the VFW (5051 Branchville Rd.) this Saturday from 1PM to 5PM! Catch up with friends and make some new ones, too! If you’ve never been to the VFW (5051 Branchville Road), you’re in for a treat! We’ll be hanging out in the lovely back yard area. To access the space, follow the sidewalk along the right side of the building to the backyard. No need to use the front door. There will be a few yard games and some arts and crafts!

Bridging Gaps in Mental Health Care: The Impact of Care Solace in College Park

In November 2023, a significant step was taken by the Mayor and Council of College Park to address the pressing issue of mental health care. They approved a groundbreaking contract with Care Solace, an organization dedicated to serving as a vital hub for residents’ mental health and social support needs.

Care Solace operates as a centralized platform facilitating care coordination across various levels of government and service providers. Their extensive network extends beyond state lines, with partnerships with school districts, municipalities, and counties nationwide. In Maryland, they’ve forged a partnership with the Harford County School District, showcasing their commitment to supporting communities across the state.

With the contract fully ratified at the end of December 2023, the services provided by Care Solace became available to all residents of College Park and city staff. The array of mental health coordination services offered includes a 24/7 online platform, multilingual access, and a “warm handoff” process ensuring seamless transitions between care providers.

One of the remarkable aspects of Care Solace’s impact is evident in the data collected since the service’s inception. With over 900 calls received from College Park residents, the majority of cases involve individuals between the ages of 18 and 59, highlighting the pressing need for accessible mental health support in this demographic.

The top reasons for calls include anxiety, depression, trauma, and stress, with a notable percentage reporting challenges related to suicidal ideation or eating disorders. This underscores the critical role Care Solace plays in addressing a wide spectrum of mental health concerns within the community. A study shows that people who experience anxiety, depression, trauma, and stress can help alleviate it by using alternative remedies such as Godfather OG Canada.

Moreover, Care Solace’s commitment to inclusivity is demonstrated by their provision of services to individuals with public insurance or no insurance, ensuring equitable access to care for all residents.

Looking ahead, both city staff and Care Solace remain dedicated to raising awareness about this invaluable service and ensuring its continued utilization within the community. The initial data paints a promising picture of the program’s effectiveness in reaching its target population and filling gaps in mental health care services.

In conclusion, the partnership between College Park and Care Solace represents a significant milestone in the city’s efforts to prioritize mental health and well-being. By harnessing the power of innovation and collaboration, they are paving the way for a healthier, more resilient community.

Advancing Youth Engagement: Proposal for a Youth Advisory Committee in College Park

In recent years, the Mayor and Council of College Park have deliberated over the establishment of a Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), recognizing its potential to enhance youth engagement within the city. Despite previous discussions in 2020 and 2022 being deferred due to staffing constraints and the COVID-19 pandemic, the current landscape presents a ripe opportunity to revisit this initiative.

Since April 2022, with schools returning to full-time, in-person learning and the appointment of an education support specialist capable of serving as the staff liaison for a YAC, the conditions for its establishment have significantly improved. This report delves into the rationale behind why College Park should consider forming a YAC at this juncture.

The primary objective of a YAC is to amplify youth involvement within the city while furnishing the Council with insights into issues affecting the younger demographic. By instituting a YAC, College Park can foster open lines of communication for young residents, empowering them to advocate for themselves and boosting their engagement with local governance.

Drawing from research and National League of Cities (NLC) guidelines, a prospective College Park YAC could comprise 8-10 high school students from neighboring schools, convening 6-10 times per school year. While no high school resides within the city limits, College Park is home to students from various institutions, including Parkdale High School, High Point High School, and others.

Should the Council elect to proceed, staff seeks guidance on defining the YAC’s mission statement, charge, and initial goals. Additionally, deliberation on membership criteria, such as GPA thresholds, age requirements, and meeting attendance, is warranted. Staff will then propose a recruitment strategy and address logistical considerations.

Examining existing YACs in Maryland, such as Greenbelt’s and the Maryland Youth Advisory Council, provides valuable insights into structure and functionality. These councils, characterized by diverse membership and a commitment to meaningful engagement, serve as exemplars for College Park’s envisioned YAC.

Furthermore, the National League of Cities offers recommendations for authentic youth engagement, emphasizing the importance of valuing youth as partners, providing necessary support, and ensuring inclusivity.

In conclusion, the establishment of a Youth Advisory Committee in College Park holds immense promise for nurturing civic participation among its youth population. By embracing this initiative, the city can cultivate a culture of collaboration, empower its younger residents, and pave the way for a more inclusive and vibrant community.

City Council Approves Student Subsidy Pilot Program

At last night’s City Council meeting, the Council approved the much-discussed needs-based student housing subsidy pilot program for students living in College Park.

The proposal would allocate $150,000 to the program. The program will fund up to 60 grants of $1250 to Pell Grant-eligible students with qualifying off-campus rental leases and up to 60 grants of $1250 to full-time graduate students with qualifying off-campus rental leases and household incomes of 60% AMI or less. Applicants will be chosen by lottery, and awards will be issued by City staff once the required documentation is confirmed.

The vote to approve the grant was 5-3. Councilmembers Hernandez (D1), Esters (D2) and Mitchell (D3) voted in opposition.

This motion amended the original motion to allocate $225,000 for the program, with $1,500 each to 75 undergraduate and 75 graduate students.

Another motion to table the proposed program and create a housing subsidy task force failed by a vote of 4-3-1. According to the City Charter, five affirmative votes are required to pass a motion when the full Council (with eight council members) is present.

The Mayor and Council received quite a few comments from residents. Almost all student residents supported the proposed subsidy program, whereas nearly all non-student residents opposed the program. Regardless of their opinions, I want to thank everyone who attended the meeting or sent their comments.


Groundbreaking Moments: The Re-Launch of College Park Wood Clubhouse

Recently, I had the pleasure of joining community members, city officials, and staff for the groundbreaking of the new College Park Wood Clubhouse at 3545 Marlborough Way. Construction kicks off soon, and we aim to wrap it up by the end of the year. Thanks to everyone who came out despite the rain!
Stay tuned for updates and learn more about this fantastic project here: https://collegeparkmd.gov/cpwoodsclubhouse
(photo credit: The City of College Park, MD, Barbara DiMaria Pianowski)

Bike With a COP

Join the Prince George’s County Police Department for a bike ride this Saturday, April 13th at 9AM! The day will be filled with fun activities, drinks, and snacks at Lake Artemesia.

Tree Pruning Work: April 2024

Alplundh, Pepco’s contractor, plans to prune or to remove trees for power line clearance for their four year maintenance cycle. The work is tentatively scheduled to start the last week of April 2024 and will occur for approximately one month. To learn more, visit https://www.collegeparkmd.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=595

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